Thursday, August 30, 2007

Little acts of love

A writer friend, Jennifer Matlack, is doing an article for Redbook and needs to find married couples (late 20s-45) to include in the piece.

The article is about "the little acts of love" in your marriage; small things couples do for each other that breathe energy, passion, and love into the everyday.

For example, her husband, Jeff, has been known to coax her out of the kitchen and onto the back porch to show her an iridescent blue beetle; take photographs of the vegetables she's harvested from her garden and email the pictures to his mother with a message that reads "Jen's beautiful bounty"; come home from a yard sale and hand her a delicate jewelry box covered in tiny seashells. All of these things are sweet little gestures that remind her why she married him in the first place.

If interested, please email her. (And please feel free to tell friends and family!) She'll need to include quotes from both you and your spouse. Some, not all of the couples, will have their photos published.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Sex clubs in Paris

I love Paris. I love it a lot. I would live there if I could. One of the blogs that I read with any regularity is The Paris Blog, which is penned by assorted Brits and Americans currently living in Paris. Their insights and observations are consistently fascinating to me.

One of the posts there recently was by my favorite blogger, Meg. She writes about her experience at a Paris sex club. (Warning: the post is not designed to turn you on, so if that's what you seek, you might want to try reading something else.)

Shut the *$@% up

Okay, maybe I'm just cranky because of my annihilated hard drive, but I've been noticing something that has really set off my irk meter:

More and more people are putting music on their blogs. And this is not good.

The fact that any sentient being would have to be told this isn't good is unsettling to me. (Kinda like how it's increasingly necessary to tell people to stop yapping on their cell phones on public transportation. Or a library.) Nevertheless, I will list the reasons why having music on your site -- and that includes most especially your MySpace page -- is unbearably annoying.

1. People often Web surf at work. If they land on a page that makes noise, suddenly all their cubicle mates, and possibly their boss, knows they are Web surfing. Likelihood that they will stay on your page? Big honkin' zero.

2. With iTunes being so popular, lots of people have music playing when they are at their computers. If they aren't listening to iTunes, then maybe they've got a CD playing right there in their computer. When they land on a page offering a competing tune, which do you think they will opt to listen to? Personally, I choose my own music about 99 percent of the time.

3. If you insist on having music on your blog, at least give the visitor the option of not having to listen to it.

Seriously. When I visit a page that accosts me with music -- no matter how hip or beautiful -- I hightail it outta there as fast as possible. I know I'm not alone in this reaction. There's enough noise out there, folks. Can't you at least keep your blogs quiet?

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I never thought it could happen to me

In 2004, I bought an iPod. I loved it but soon discovered that using it with a PC was an unsatisfying experience. And when my PC got so invested with spyware that it was rendered inoperable in 2005, I thought, "Okay, it's a sign. Time to buy a Mac!"

After the first few days of growing pains, I fell in love with my Mac. I evangelized it, even. It really was simpler than the PC and far less susceptible to pop-ups, spyware, adware, and all those other "wares."

Until two months ago when the power supply failed and had to be replaced. That was annoying, as my Mac was only a little more than two years old.

Last night, my Mac stopped working completely and today it was diagnosed with a failed hard drive. Failed hard drive? That's something that happens to other people! People with old computers! People who buy mongrel brands!

So much for my reality.

No, I don't back up my files like I should. Last time I did it was in May. I write several stories a month, so you do the math. I risk losing about a dozen stories unless my dear friend Marc can extract my data from this so-called failed drive.

And my address book! Noooooooooooooooooooo! Not my address book! Hundreds of addresses, gone forever? It's too disturbing to contemplate.

I've also lost longer stories that I was in the middle of writing. What a profound annoyance all of this is. Imagine how lame I'm going to look when I have to tell a couple of clients that their stories will be delayed because I have to start them over from scratch? Oy, I feel like such a loser.

So, the point of this post is two-fold:
1. Macs are not perfect. They are only slightly less imperfect than PCs. Sure the commercials are cute, and the products looks sexy. But it's still technology, people. It will fail.
2. Back up your data. For the love of God, back up your data.

And if you're waiting for a story from me, my deepest regrets. After Sunday, I should know better if what I've written for you so far can be saved.

Monday, August 13, 2007

An abundance of niceness

Writers, it is sad to say, are not known for helping each other. It's not because we're particularly nasty people but because the competition is stiff, the money is absolutely awful, and the duration of any attention you get for anything you publish is fleeting. We're not generally proud of any of this or our behavior, mind you, but the publishing industry is a dog-eat-dog world, and as Norm from Cheers once commented, "I'm wearing Milk Bone underwear."

It's a rare writer who goes out of her way to promote another. That's why I'm so grateful to Donna George Storey, who recently wrote such a lovely review of Your Erotic Personality. And because no good deed goes unpunished, I would like to extol her virtues here in my blog!

Donna and I first met a couple of years ago, when we both publicly read from our stories in the travel erotica anthology, Foreign Affairs. I was impressed with the story she read about Japan -- it was clear that she wrote from experience with that country and its customs. (Her story was sexy as well as informed, which for me only heightened the erotic experience.) I invited her to contribute to the three anthologies M. Christian and I were editing at the time, and as a result, she wrote an excellent story for Garden of the Perverse: Fairy Tales for Twisted Adults.

Then we both sold our first novels to the same publisher, a crazy division of Orion Books called Neon. I say crazy because these folks have some serious organizational problems -- I've been waiting for my novel, Giving the Bride Away, to come out since I turned in the manuscript back in August of 2005! Donna has been waiting almost as long, and finally, at the end of this month, her book, An Amorous Woman, will see the light of day! True to crazy Orion form, however, it isn't available in the United States yet (but they promise that it will be). So do keep your eyes open for it or order it through Amazon UK.

Donna is not only a terrific writer, but also a fine person and a good friend. You can bet I'll be reading her novel when it comes out.

Need a bumper sticker for 2007?

Personally, I don't like to plaster sentiments of any kind on my clothing or my car, but these bumper stickers are just funny enough to possibly change my mind:

1. Bush: End of an Error
2. That's OK, I Wasn't Using My Civil Liberties Anyway
3. Let's Fix Democracy in this Country First
4. If You Want a Nation Ruled By Religion, Move to Iran
5. Bush. Like a Rock. Only Dumber.
6. If You Can Read This, You're Not Our President
7. Of Course It Hurts: You're Getting Screwed by an Elephant
8. Hey, Bush Supporters: Embarrassed Yet?
9. George Bush: Creating the Terrorists Our Kids Will Have to Fight
10. Impeachment: It's Not Just for Blowjobs Anymore
11. America : One Nation, Under Surveillance
12. They Call Him "W" So He Can Spell It
13. Whose G-d Do You Kill For?
14. Jail to the Chief
15. No, Seriously, Why Did We Invade Iraq ?
16. Bush: G-d's Way of Proving Intelligent Design is Full Of Crap
17. Bad President! No Banana.
18. We Need a President Who's Fluent In At Least One Language
19. We're Making Enemies Faster Than We Can Kill Them
20. Is It Vietnam Yet?
21. Bush Doesn't Care About White People, Either
22. Where Are We Going? And Why Are We In This Handbasket?
23. You Elected Him. You Deserve Him.
24. Dubya, Your Dad Shoulda Pulled Out, Too
25. When Bush Took Office, Gas Was $1.46
26. The Bush Legacy: Leave No Child a Dime
27. Pray For Impeachment
28. The Republican Party: Our Bridge to the 11th Century
29. What Part of "Bush Lied" Don't You Understand?
31. 2004: Embarrassed 2005: Horrified 2006: Terrified
32. Bush Never Exhaled
33. At Least Nixon Resigned

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

What's at the center of your world?

An artist friend of mine recently shared this drawing with me. He created it to honor a woman he loves dearly but who is with a man who treats her badly. I was so touched by his words, I wanted to share them with you:

Here's a woman. I based her on a shy, lovely friend -- let's call her Josephine -- here where I live, who has nearly black hair and striking green eyes. Josephine, now in her forties like so many of us, has some silver streaks in her hair, which she hates and I love. She has what she calls "rather floppy" breasts, which she hates and I love. She has a bit of a belly, which she hates and I love. She has thick, extra-long (she calls it "freakishly long") pubic hair, which she hates and I love. I've never seen her labia, but I hope they are long, thick, and lush, which she hates and I love! She has a large lush bottom, which I love! She has large, luscious thighs, which I love! The very things Josephine dislikes most about her body are the very things I love about her body. I love them all. Maybe because they are hers...

So, out of love and admiration, I imagined her here, courageously showing us the place she's most ashamed of. Where she was molested. Where, when she was younger, her lovers longed to come and stay. Where her children were born. Where her unloving partner hates to go. Where she touches herself in secret.

It's easy to look at naked bodies and objectify them. Society teaches us how to do that. It's harder to see what that body has experienced or how it seeks to tell us what it feels or wants or needs. But isn't it awesome beyond words how easily we can see a body in a whole new way when we remember that every body has a soul attached to it?

I can't help but wish Josephine could know that this painting exists or that the artist feels such a beautiful combination of love, appreciation, and desire for her.

(And here is the painting that inspired my friend's drawing: "The Center of the World" by Gustav Courbet.)

Saturday, August 04, 2007

New quiz!

iVillage has published a unique version of the erotic personality quiz. It's geared to women and it highlights a select number of erotic personality types. So why should you take it? Cuz it's freakin' fun, that's why!

Should you find the results less than accurate, feel free to take the genderless mother quiz for a thorough diagnostic on your horniness triggers.